Standing Orders of the Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee

Approved by the Committee on 28 October 2010.1

Amendments approved on 3 March 2014.

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The terms of reference of the Committee are provided by Council Regulations 15 of 2002 (Part 29). Inter-alia "The committee shall consider representations concerning the Socially Responsible Investment Policy and proposals related to the implementation of the Policy submitted to it as set out in [Regulation] 29.3 (1)-(3) below and make recommendations to Council as appropriate."

In accordance with the University’s Policy on Conflict of Interest, the agenda for the first meeting of the academic year shall include an item about conflict of interest, covering what a conflict of interest is and how the members of the committee should declare such an interest if and when such a circumstance arises.

Members of the Committee shall declare at the outset of every meeting any interest that could give rise to conflict in relation to any item on the agenda. All interests so disclosed will be recorded in the minutes. If the chairman of the meeting deems it appropriate, the member shall absent himself or herself from all or part of the Committee’s discussion of the relevant agenda item. This statement shall be reproduced at the beginning of each agenda.

The Committee shall:

  • meet once per term, ordinarily at 9.00 a.m. on the Thursday of Week 7. If the chairman considers that there is insufficient business to warrant a meeting, a meeting may be cancelled not later than 12 noon on the preceding Monday;
  • meet annually with the the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of OUEM, at which meeting it shall receive a presentation on the operation of OUEM and on matters covered in the Chair of the Investment Committee’s report to Council on SRI matters and shall have opportunity to ask questions.

Extraordinary meetings may be called as deemed necessary by the chairman. It may be the case that the Committee shall meet outside of the University if the issues considered require so.

Membership of the Committee is determined in accordance with the provisions of Council Regulations 15 of 2002 (Regulation 29.1).

From time to time, the Committee may invite others from within and without the collegiate University to attend meetings for the purposes of briefing, information, and advice. In particular, the Committee shall invite the Chair of the Investment Committee to attend one meeting each year, and, in reciprocation, the Chair of the SRIRC shall attend meetings of the Investment Committee periodically, if invited.

In accordance with Council Regulations 15 of 2002, no business shall be transacted at any meeting of the SRIRC unless a quorum is present (Regulation 1.6(1)). For this committee, a quorum is one third plus one of the members who are eligible to vote (rounded to the nearest integer) (Regulation 29.6).

Meetings shall be held in a manner consistent with the frank exchange of views and opinions. As such, the committee's deliberations shall be treated in a confidential manner by those attending and the views expressed during the course of meetings may not be disclosed to, or discussed with, anyone outside the meeting unless that person is either another member of the committee or an officer in attendance, or, in the case of specific items, a person from whom the committee has requested advice on that particular matter.

Each meeting shall be recorded in minutes. As the Committee has an interest in disclosing its minutes to the collegiate University and the wider community, the minutes shall be published on the University’s website[2] following the meeting at which they are accepted.

Recommendations to Council shall be treated as a confidential minute, until such time as Council reaches a determination upon the recommendations. Thereafter, the Committee shall post on its website its recommendations (or where issues of confidentiality dictate, a précis), together with a statement of Council’s decision approved by the Registrar.

Items relating to the University’s SRI policy and the work of the Committee posted on the University’s website (including the membership of the Committee) shall, unless determined otherwise by the Committee or Council, be available in the public domain.

In the event that a query for information about the SRIRC or the University’s position on SRI is sent to a member of the Committee, the member shall not respond directly but shall forward the query to the Secretary for response.

[2] - Listing of minutes

The University’s Policy on Socially Responsible Investment may be found on the University’s website. There are three routes by which representations concerning the policy may be submitted to the Committee, namely:

  1. by Council, the Investment Committee or any other committee reporting directly to Council;
  2. by 20 or more members of Congregation;
  3. by a majority resolution of the Council of the Oxford University Student Union. [3]

In determining the status of an issue brought to the committee in relation to the policy on social responsible investment, the committee shall take into account:

  • relevant stated University objectives and values. This may include but not be limited to the University's strategic plan, current guidelines for the acceptance of donations, and other relevant publications.
  • relevant national and international obligations pertaining to the collegiate University’s relationships.
  • relevant University legal and regulatory obligations, such as those attending the University by virtue of its status as a UK Charity.
  • relevant national and international policies and obligations.

It is recognised that social responsible investment like many other ethical issues may be reasonably debated and contested by members of the University community recognising, as well, the diversity of opinion in the collegiate University.  It may be appropriate, in some cases, for the committee to canvass opinion in the collegiate University about matters which the committee believes would benefit from a broader public debate.

In making recommendations to Council, the committee shall make reference to the relevant policy criteria animating its conclusions. The committee shall also make reference, where relevant, to academic research and policy practice inside and outside of the University that bears upon the issue.

The committee is mindful that any investment recommendation, or engagement strategy should take into account (A) the purpose behind such a strategy, (B) the implications of the strategy for the University’s investment performance; (C) the practicability (including the costs) of implementation, and (D) its likely effectiveness.

[3] - Council Regulations 15 of 2002, Regulation 29.3

The committee notes that while Council statutes and regulations referred to the policy on socially responsible investment and the views of the Investment Committee, the collegiate University sponsors and managers a number of other investment institutions which may be considered relevant to the committee's deliberations.

1 - Although the approval of Council was not required, the Standing Orders were reported to Council at its meeting on 6 December 2010.

Contact the Committee

By post to:

SRIRC secretary
Council Secretariat
University Offices
Wellington Square

or by email to: SRIRC secretary